Airport Safety for Workers

December 7, 2019

In August, a worker at North Carolina’s Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CDIA) was killed after an airport baggage transportation vehicle rolled over on him. His death brought to light many issues at the airport, including a lack of safety lighting, and temperatures in the brand-new baggage transport area, where workers suffer from dehydration and heat exhaustion.

These problems are not unique to CDIA and occur in airports nationwide. Depending on the type of job they hold, airport workers are subject to various workplace hazards. If such hazards cause serious injury or illness, workers need an attorney to protect their rights.

Hazardous Chemical Exposure

Many airport workers are exposed daily to harsh chemicals as part of their job. These include cabin cleaners, who use various chemicals to clean and disinfect cabins. Many times, workers do not receive proper training in how to handle these chemicals or information about possible side effects after exposure. In 2010, a cabin cleaner at Wisconsin’s Dane County Regional Airport died after exposure to a cleaning disinfectant. Many workers experience side effects such as:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing

Under federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules, all chemicals in the workplace require labeling, and employers must train workers on the safe and proper use of these substances.

Hazardous Emissions

Many airport workers are under continuous exposure to hazardous emissions, such as those from diesel engines. Carbon monoxide exposure from the motors of internal combustion engines is another serious threat. Diesel fuel emissions contain known cancer-causing agents, while inhalation of too much carbon monoxide can prove fatal. Many workers exposed to lower levels of carbon monoxide experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Loss of judgment

Extreme Temperatures

Exposure to heat and cold is part of an airport worker’s job. Exposure to extreme temperatures can cause many serious conditions. Extreme heat exposure may result in:

  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke
  • Rashes

Excessive heat exposure may prove fatal and is a medical emergency. When it comes to extreme cold exposure, airport workers may end up suffering from various issues, including:

  • Hypothermia
  • Frostbite
  • Trench foot

Hypothermia, or severe lowering of body temperature, can kill. Symptoms of hypothermia include confusion, shivering, slurred speech, and fatigue. Again, immediate medical attention is necessary. In cold weather, employers are supposed to provide airport workers with appropriate protection, including hats and gloves. In many cases, workers must use their own cold weather gear or go without.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Constant repetitive motions often lead to musculoskeletal disorders and are a leading cause of workplace injury and lost workdays. Any airport worker whose job requires lifting, carrying heavy bags, bending, or working in strange positions is vulnerable. Airport workers should always receive training on how to lift heavy items to avoid injury.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Injured Workers

If you or a loved one was hurt while on the job, you need the services of the experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. We will fight to obtain the benefits you deserve so you can focus on your recovery. Call us today at 888-PITT-LAW or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Located in Philadelphia, Bensalem, Lansdowne, and Reading, we represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.

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Melinda Matson
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